Helsinki
Overview
 
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. It is in the region of Uusimaa
Uusimaa
Uusimaa, or Nyland in Swedish, is a region in Finland. It borders the regions Finland Proper, Tavastia Proper, Päijänne Tavastia and Kymenlaakso...

, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

, an arm of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland.
Timeline

1918    Finnish Civil War: Rebels seized control of the capital, Helsinki, and members of the Senate of Finland go underground.

1939    Winter War: Soviet forces cross the Finnish border in several places and bomb Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war.

1969    Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

Encyclopedia
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. It is in the region of Uusimaa
Uusimaa
Uusimaa, or Nyland in Swedish, is a region in Finland. It borders the regions Finland Proper, Tavastia Proper, Päijänne Tavastia and Kymenlaakso...

, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

, an arm of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is located some 400 kilometres (248.5 mi) east of Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, 300 kilometres (186.4 mi) west of St. Petersburg, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) north of Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. Helsinki has close historical connections
History of Helsinki
Helsinki was founded by Swedish King Gustav Vasa in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors. Gustav intended for the town to serve the purpose of consolidating trade in the southern part of Finland and providing a competitor to Reval , a nearby Hanseatic League city which dominated local trade at the time...

 with these three cities.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area includes the city of Helsinki and three other cities: Espoo
Espoo
Espoo is the second largest city and municipality in Finland. The population of the city of Espoo is . It is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. Espoo shares its eastern border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen....

 and Vantaa
Vantaa
Vantaa is a city and municipality in Finland. Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen make up the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.Vantaa, with its population of , is the fourth most populated city of Finland. The biggest airport in Finland, the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, is located there...

, which immediately border Helsinki to the west and north, respectively; and Kauniainen
Kauniainen
Kauniainen is a small town and a municipality of inhabitants in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland. It is surrounded by the city of Espoo, in Greater Helsinki...

, which is an enclave within the city of Espoo. The Helsinki metropolitan area is the world's northernmost urban area among those with a population of over one million people, and the city is the northernmost capital of a EU member state. Altogether 1.1 million people, approximately one in five Finns, live in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

Helsinki is Finland's major political, educational, financial, cultural and research centre as well as one of northern Europe's major cities. Approximately 70% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region.

The nearby city of Vantaa in the Helsinki metropolitan area is the location of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
Helsinki Airport or Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is the main international airport of the Helsinki metropolitan region and the whole of Finland. It is located in Vantaa, Finland, about west of Tikkurila, the centre of Vantaa, and north of Helsinki city centre...

, with frequent service to various destinations in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. Since early 2009, Helsinki has been exploring a merger with Vantaa. On 30 March 2009, the city council of Vantaa agreed to review Helsinki's proposal of a possible merger, while emphasizing that the review is not about the possibility of terminating the existence of the city of Vantaa. On 31 January 2011, the city council of Vantaa turned down Helsinki's proposal of a possible merger, with 45 votes against the proposal compared to 22 in favour of it.

In 2009, Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital
World Design Capital
The World Design Capital is a city promotion project by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design to recognize and award accomplishments made by cities around the world in the field of design.-World Design Capitals by year:...

 for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
International Council of Societies of Industrial Design was founded in 1957 from a group of international organizations focused on industrial design. Today Icsid is a worldwide society that promotes better design around the world...

, narrowly beating Eindhoven for the title.

Early history

Helsinki was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden
Gustav I of Sweden
Gustav I of Sweden, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known simply as Gustav Vasa , was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death....

 in 1550 as the town of Helsingfors, which he intended to be a rival to the Hanseatic city of Reval (today known as Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

). Little came of the plans as Helsinki remained a tiny town plagued by poverty, wars, and diseases. The plague of 1710 killed the greater part of the inhabitants of Helsinki. The construction of the naval fortress Sveaborg
Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna, until 1918 Viapori , or Sveaborg , is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands , and which now forms part of the city of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with both tourists and locals, who...

 (In Finnish Viapori, today also Suomenlinna) in the 18th century helped improve Helsinki's status, but it was not until Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish War
Finnish War
The Finnish War was fought between Sweden and the Russian Empire from February 1808 to September 1809. As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire...

 and annexed Finland as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

 in 1809 that the town began to develop into a substantial city.

Czar Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 moved the Finnish capital from Turku
Turku
Turku is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland...

 to Helsinki to reduce Swedish influence in Finland. The Royal Academy of Turku
The Royal Academy of Turku
The Royal Academy of Turku was the first university in Finland, and the only university in present-day Finland to be founded when it was still a part of Sweden. In 1809, after Finland became a Grand Duchy under the suzerainty of the Russian Tzar, it was renamed the Imperial Academy of Turku...

, back then the country's only university, was relocated to Helsinki in 1827 and eventually became the modern University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as The Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available...

. The move consolidated the city's new role and helped set it on the path of continuous growth. This transformation is highly apparent in the downtown core, which was rebuilt in neoclassical
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 style to resemble St. Petersburg. As elsewhere, technological advancements such as railroads and industrialization were key factors behind the city's growth.

Twentieth century

Despite the tumultuousness of Finnish history during the first half of the 20th century, Helsinki continued its steady development. A landmark event was the XV Olympiad (1952 Olympic Games
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

) held in Helsinki. Finland's rapid urbanization in the 1970s, occurring late relative to the rest of Europe, tripled the population in the metropolitan area, and the Helsinki Metro
Helsinki Metro
The Helsinki Metro , is the metro system in Helsinki, Finland. It is the World's most northern metro system, and currently the only one in Finland. The system was opened to the general public on 2 August 1982 after 27 years of planning...

 subway system was built. The relatively sparse population density of Helsinki and its peculiar structure have often been attributed to the lateness of its growth.

Name

The Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 name (hɛlsiŋˈfɔrs or hɛlsiŋˈfɔʂ) is the original official name of the city of Helsinki (in the very beginning, spelled Hellssingeforss). The Finnish language form of the name probably originates from Helsinga and similar names used for the river that is currently known as the Vantaa River
Vantaa River
The Vantaa River is a long river in Southern Finland. The river starts from the lake in Hausjärvi and flows into the Gulf of Finland at in Helsinki...

 as documented already in the 14th century. Helsinki , is used to refer to the city in all languages except Swedish, Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

. Helsingfors comes from the name of the surrounding parish, Helsinge (source for Finnish Helsinki) and the rapids , which flowed through the original village. The name Helsinge may have originated with medieval Swedish settlers who came from Hälsingland
Hälsingland
' is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. It borders to Gästrikland, Dalarna, Härjedalen, Medelpad and to the Gulf of Bothnia...

 in Sweden. Others have proposed that the name derives from the Swedish word hals (neck
Neck
The neck is the part of the body, on many terrestrial or secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that distinguishes the head from the torso or trunk. The adjective signifying "of the neck" is cervical .-Boner anatomy: The cervical spine:The cervical portion of the human spine comprises seven boney...

), referring to the narrowest part of the river, i.e. the rapids.

In Helsinki slang
Helsinki slang
Helsinki slang or stadin slangi is a local dialect and a sociolect of the Finnish language mainly used in the capital Helsinki...

 the city is nicknamed as either Stadi (from the Swedish word stad, meaning "city") or Hesa (short of Helsinki + slang suffix sa), with Stadi being used to assert that the speaker is native to the city. is the Northern Saami name of Helsinki.

Geography


Helsinki is spread across a number of bays and peninsulas and over a number of islands. The inner city area occupies a southern peninsula, which is rarely referred to by its actual name Vironniemi
Vironniemi
Vironniemi is a district of Helsinki, Finland, forming the core part of the city centre, thus also the central location of the Finnish governmental and financial decision making, and the location of Helsinki's most important churches...

. Population density in certain parts of Helsinki's inner city area is very high, reaching 16494 PD/km2 in the district of Kallio
Kallio
Kallio is a district and a neighbourhood in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, located on the eastern side of the Helsinki peninsula about one kilometere north from the city centre. It is one of the most densely populated areas in Finland...

, but as a whole Helsinki's population density of 3050 /km2 ranks it as quite sparsely populated in comparison to other European capital cities. Much of Helsinki outside the inner city area consists of postwar suburbs separated from each other by patches of forest. A narrow, ten-kilometre-long (6 mi) Helsinki Central Park
Central Park (Helsinki)
Central Park is a park in Helsinki, Finland. It has an area of 10 square kilometres...

 that stretches from the inner city to the northern border of Helsinki is an important recreational area for residents.

Major islands in Helsinki include Seurasaari
Seurasaari
Seurasaari is an island and a district in Helsinki, Finland, known mostly as the location of the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, which consists of old, mainly wooden buildings transplanted from elsewhere in Finland and placed in the dense forest landscape of the island.Every summer, many Helsinkians...

, Lauttasaari
Lauttasaari
Lauttasaari is an island and neighbourhood of Western Helsinki , about 3 kilometres west of the city centre....

 and Korkeasaari
Korkeasaari
Korkeasaari is an island in Helsinki, Finland where the country's biggest zoo is situated. The English name of the zoo is Helsinki Zoo.The zoo is located on a rocky island. It's connected to mainland via a bridge to Mustikkamaa, where there is access to the zoo all year round...

 – the latter being the site of the country's biggest zoo. Other significant islands are the fortress island of Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna, until 1918 Viapori , or Sveaborg , is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands , and which now forms part of the city of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with both tourists and locals, who...

 (Sveaborg) and the military island of Santahamina
Santahamina
Santahamina is an island and neighbourhood of Eastern Helsinki, Finland. At present it is a military base housing the Guard Jaeger Regiment, making access restricted...

. Pihlajasaari
Pihlajasaari
Pihlajasaari is an island in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.Pihlajasaari actually consists of two separate islands connected with a bridge...

 island is a favourite summer spot for gay men and naturists, very much comparable to Fire Island off New York City.

Climate

Helsinki has a humid continental climate. Owing to the mitigating influence of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 and Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

, temperatures in winter are much higher than the far northern location might suggest, with the average in January and February around -5 C. Temperatures below −20 C occur normally a week or two in a year. However, because of the latitude, days last less than six hours around the winter solstice with really low Sun rays, and the very cloudy weather at this time of year accentuates the darkness. Conversely, Helsinki enjoys long days in summer, close to nineteen hours around the summer solstice
Summer solstice
The summer solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's semi-axis in a given hemisphere is most inclined towards the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. Though the summer solstice is an instant in time, the term is also...

. The average maximum temperature from June to August is around 19 to 21 °C (66 to 70 °F). Due to the marine effect, especially in the summer daily temperatures are cooler and night temperatures are higher than further away in the mainland. As near as in Vantaa, the climate is surprisingly much more continental, with warmer summers and colder winters. The highest temperature ever recorded at city centre was 34 °C (93.2 °F) on 28 July 2010 and the lowest was -34.3 C on 10 January 1987.

Cityscape

Carl Ludvig Engel
Carl Ludvig Engel
Carl Ludvig Engel, or Johann Carl Ludwig Engel , was a German architect known for his neoclassical style. He had a great impact on the architecture of Finland in the first part of the 19th century....

 (1778–1840) was appointed to design a new city centre all on his own. He designed several neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 buildings in Helsinki. The focal point of Engel's city plan is the Senate Square
Helsinki Senate Square
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland.-Construction:...

. It is surrounded by the Government Palace
Government Palace (Finland)
The Government Palace in Helsinki , is the executive office building of the Government of Finland.- History :Work on building the Senate began in 1818. The Senate moved to the palace overlooking Senate Square in 1822. The wing on the Aleksanterinkatu side was completed in 1824 followed by the...

 (to the east), the main building of the University (to the west), and (to the north) the enormous Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral is an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built as a tribute to the Grand Duke, Nicholas I, the Tsar of Russia and until the independence of Finland in 1917, it was called St...

, which was finished in 1852, twelve years after C. L. Engel's death. Subsequently, Engel's neoclassical plan stimulated the epithet
Epithet
An epithet or byname is a descriptive term accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, divinities, objects, and binomial nomenclature. It is also a descriptive title...

, The White City Of The North.
Helsinki is, however, perhaps even more famous for its numerous Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 (Jugend in Finnish) influenced buildings of the romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

, designed in the early 1900s and strongly influenced by the Kalevala
Kalevala
The Kalevala is a 19th century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature...

, which is a very popular theme in the national romantic art of that era. Helsinki's Art Nouveau style is also featured in large residential areas such as Katajanokka
Katajanokka
Katajanokka is a neighbourhood of Helsinki, Finland, with around 4000 inhabitants in 2005. The district is located adjacent to the immediate downtown area, though in the first major town plan for Helsinki from the mid-18th century, the area fell outside the fortifications planned to encircle the...

 and Ullanlinna. The master of the Finnish Art Nouveau was Eliel Saarinen
Eliel Saarinen
Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen was a Finnish architect who became famous for his art nouveau buildings in the early years of the 20th century....

 (1873–1950), whose architectural masterpiece was the Helsinki central railway station.

Helsinki also features several buildings by the world-renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto
Alvar Aalto
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware...

 (1898–1976), recognized as one of the pioneers of architectural functionalism
Functionalism (architecture)
Functionalism, in architecture, is the principle that architects should design a building based on the purpose of that building. This statement is less self-evident than it first appears, and is a matter of confusion and controversy within the profession, particularly in regard to modern...

. However, some of his works, such as the headquarters of the paper company Stora Enso
Stora Enso
Stora Enso Oyj is a Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer, formed by the merger of Swedish mining and forestry products company Stora and Finnish forestry products company Enso-Gutzeit Oy in 1998. It is headquartered in Helsinki, and it has approximately 29,000 employees...

 and the concert venue, Finlandia Hall
Finlandia Hall
Finlandia Hall is a concert hall with a congress wing in Helsinki, Finland, by Töölönlahti bay. The building was designed by Alvar Aalto. The work began in 1967 and was completed in 1971.-Design and building:...

, have been subject to divided opinions from the citizens.

Renowned functionalist buildings in Helsinki by other architects include the Olympic Stadium
Helsinki Olympic Stadium
The Helsinki Olympic Stadium , located in the Töölö district about from the center of the Finnish capital Helsinki, is the largest stadium in the country, nowadays mainly used for hosting sports events and big concerts. The stadium is best known for being the center of activities in the 1952...

, the Tennis Palace
Tennispalatsi
Tennispalatsi , is a cultural and recreational center in Kamppi, Helsinki, Finland. It houses a Finnkino movie theatre, the Art Museum Tennis Palace, the Museum of Cultures, and small shops....

, the Rowing Stadium, the Swimming Stadium
Helsinki Swimming Stadium
Helsinki Swimming Stadium is an outdoors swimming venue in Helsinki, Finland, located in the Eläintarha area to the northeast of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.-History:...

, the Velodrome, the Glass Palace
Lasipalatsi
Lasipalatsi is a functionalist office building designed in the 1930s, located on Mannerheimintie in the Kamppi district of Helsinki, Finland. Lasipalatsi is one of Helsinki's most notable functionalist buildings....

, the Exhibition Hall (now Töölö Sports Hall) and Helsinki-Malmi Airport
Helsinki-Malmi Airport
Helsinki-Malmi Airport is an airport in the city of Helsinki, Finland, located in the district of Malmi, north north-east of the city centre. Until the opening of the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in 1952 it was the main airport of Helsinki and all Finland. Today, the airport is still actively used in...

. The sports venues were built to serve the 1940 Helsinki Olympic Games; the games were initially cancelled due to the Second World War, but the venues eventually got to fulfill their purpose in the 1952 Olympic Games
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

. Many of them are listed by DoCoMoMo as significant examples of modern architecture. The Olympic Stadium and Helsinki-Malmi Airport are in addition catalogued by the National Board of Antiquities as cultural-historical environments of national significance.

As a historical footnote, Helsinki's neoclassical buildings were often used as a backdrop for scenes set to take place in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in many Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era Hollywood movies, when filming in the USSR was not possible. Some of the more notable ones are The Kremlin Letter
The Kremlin Letter
The Kremlin Letter is an American noir film directed by John Huston, starring Richard Boone, Orson Welles, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Patrick O'Neal and George Sanders. It was released in February 1970 by 20th Century-Fox...

(1970), Reds (1981) and Gorky Park
Gorky Park (film)
Gorky Park is a 1983 film based on the novel Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. It was directed by Michael Apted from a screenplay by Dennis Potter ....

(1983). Because some streetscapes were reminiscent of Leningrad's and Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

's old buildings, they too were used in movie productions—much to some residents' dismay. At the same time the government secretly instructed Finnish officials not to extend assistance to such film projects.

Government

The city council of Helsinki consists of eighty-five members. The three largest parties are National Coalition (26), Greens (21), and Social Democrats
Social Democratic Party of Finland
The Social Democratic Party of Finland is one of the three major political parties in Finland, along with the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party. Jutta Urpilainen is the current SDP leader. The party has been in the Finnish government cabinet for long periods and has set many...

 (16).

Demographics

Helsinki has a higher proportion of women (53.4%) than elsewhere in Finland (51.1%). Helsinki's current population density of 2,739.36 people per square kilometer is by far the highest in Finland. Life expectancy for both genders is slightly below the national averages: 75.1 years for men as compared to 75.7 years, 81.7 years for women as compared to 82.5 years.

Helsinki has experienced strong growth since the 1810s, when it replaced Turku
Turku
Turku is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland...

 as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

, which later became the sovereign Republic of Finland. The city continued to show strong growth from that time onwards, with the exception during the Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

 period. From the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 up until the 1970s there was a massive exodus of people from the countryside to the cities of Finland, in particular Helsinki. Between 1944 and 1969 the population of the city nearly doubled from 275,000 to 525600.

In the 1960s, the population growth of Helsinki proper began to ebb mainly due to lack of housing. Many residents began to move to neighboring Espoo and Vantaa, where population growth has since soared. Espoo's population increased ninefold in sixty years, from 22,874 people in 1950 to 244,353 in 2009. Neighboring Vantaa has seen even more dramatic change in the same time span: from 14,976 in 1950 to 197,663 in 2009, a thirteenfold increase. These dramatic increases pushed the municipalities of greater Helsinki into more intense cooperation in such areas as public transportation and waste management. The increasing scarcity of housing and the higher costs of living in the Helsinki metropolitan area have pushed many daily commuters to find housing in formerly very rural areas, and even further, to such cities as Lohja
Lohja
Lohja , is a town and municipality of Finland.It is located in the province of Southern Finland and is part of the Uusimaa region. The town has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water...

 (50 kilometres or 30 miles northwest from the city centre), Hämeenlinna
Hämeenlinna
Hämeenlinna is a city and municipality of about inhabitants in the heart of the historical province of Häme in the south of Finland and is the birthplace of composer Jean Sibelius. Today, it belongs to the region of Tavastia Proper, and until 2010 it was the residence city for the Governor of the...

 and Lahti
Lahti
Lahti is a city and municipality in Finland.Lahti is the capital of the Päijänne Tavastia region. It is situated on a bay at the southern end of lake Vesijärvi about north-east of the capital Helsinki...

 (both 100 kilometres or 60 miles from Helsinki, and Porvoo
Porvoo
Porvoo is a city and a municipality situated on the southern coast of Finland approximately east of Helsinki. Porvoo is one of the six medieval towns in Finland, first mentioned as a city in texts from 14th century...

 (50 kilometres to the east).

Language

Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 and Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 are the official languages of the municipality of Helsinki. The majority, or 84.3% of the population, speak Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 as their native language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

. A minority, at 6.1%, speak Swedish. Around 9.6% of the population speak a native language other than Finnish or Swedish. Helsinki slang
Helsinki slang
Helsinki slang or stadin slangi is a local dialect and a sociolect of the Finnish language mainly used in the capital Helsinki...

 combines influences from both Finnish, Swedish and Russian languages. While Swedish was historically the majority spoken language of the city (prior to 1890), Finnish today is the common language of communication between Finnish speakers, Swedish speakers and speakers of other languages (new Finns) in day-to-day affairs in the public sphere between unknown persons. In case a speaker's knowledge of Finnish is not known, English is usually spoken. Swedish is commonly spoken in city agencies specifically aimed at Swedish speakers, such as the Social Services Department on Hämeentie or the Luckan Cultural centre in Kamppi. Knowledge of Finnish is also essential in business and is usually a basic requirement in the employment market.

Finnish speakers surpassed Swedish speakers in 1890 to become the majority of the city's population. At the time, Helsinki's population was 61,530.

Immigration

Foreign citizens make up 5.2% (29,200) of the population, while foreign born make up 7.9% (44,400). Of the resident foreigners 33% are EU nationals
Citizenship of the European Union
Citizenship of the European Union was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty . European citizenship is supplementary to national citizenship and affords rights such as the right to vote in European elections, the right to free movement and the right to consular protection from other EU states'...

. In 2008, 55,245 residents spoke a native language other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami
Sami languages
Sami or Saami is a general name for a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia, in Northern Europe. Sami is frequently and erroneously believed to be a single language. Several names are used for the Sami...

. The largest group of residents with a non-Finnish background come from Estonia (5,900), Russia (5,633), Somalia (2,400), China (1,150) and Thailand (680). Half of the immigrant population in Finland lives in greater Helsinki, and one third in the city of Helsinki. 44% of the African population in Finland lives in Helsinki. In 2001, out of all the EU-15 capitals, only Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 had a smaller share of immigrants in their population. There are some challenges to integration, as the immigrant unemployment rate on average is 2.5 times higher than native Finns.

Economy

The Helsinki metropolitan area generates approximately one third of Finland's GDP. GDP per capita is roughly 1.3 times the national average.

The metropolitan area's gross value added per capita is 200% of the mean of 27 European metropolitan areas, equalling those of Stockholm or Paris. The gross value added annual growth has been around 4%.

83 of the 100 largest Finnish companies are headquartered in Greater Helsinki. Two-thirds of the 200 highest-paid Finnish executives live in Greater Helsinki and 42% in Helsinki. The average income of the top 50 earners was 1.65 million euro.

The tap water is of excellent quality and it is supplied by 120 km (74.6 mi) long Päijänne Water Tunnel
Päijänne Water Tunnel
The Päijänne Water Tunnel , located in Southern Finland, is the world's second longest continuous rock tunnel . It is long and runs 30–100 meters under the surface in bedrock...

, one of the world's longest continuous rock tunnels. Bottled Helsinki tap water is even sold to countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Education

Helsinki has 190 comprehensive schools, 41 upper secondary schools and 15 vocational institutes. Half of the 41 upper secondary schools are private or state-owned, the other half municipal. Higher level education is given in eight universities (see the section "Universities" below) and four polytechnics.

Universities

  • University of Helsinki
    University of Helsinki
    The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as The Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available...

  • Aalto University
    Aalto University
    Aalto University is a Finnish university established on January 1, 2010, by the merger of the Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics, and the University of Art and Design Helsinki....

     (The Schools of Science are located in Espoo
    Espoo
    Espoo is the second largest city and municipality in Finland. The population of the city of Espoo is . It is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. Espoo shares its eastern border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen....

    )
  • Hanken School of Economics
  • Academy of Fine Arts
    Academy of Fine Arts (Finland)
    The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland provides the highest university-level theoretical and practical training in the country in fine arts....

  • Sibelius Academy
    Sibelius Academy
    The Sibelius Academy is a university-level music school which operates in Helsinki and Kuopio, Finland. It also has an adult education centre in Järvenpää and a training centre in Seinäjoki. The Academy is the only music university in Finland. It is among the biggest European music universities...

  • Theatre Academy
    Theatre Academy (Finland)
    The Theatre Academy is located in Helsinki. It provides education in performing arts, including acting , directing, dramaturgy and script writing, dance, choreography, lighting design and sound design...

  • National Defence University
    Finnish National Defence University
    The Finnish National Defence University is the Finnish Defence Forces' university located in Helsinki. The university trains officers for the Defence Forces and the Finnish Border Guard...


Polytechnics

  • Haaga-Helia University Of Applied Sciences
  • Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
    Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
    Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest and the most international University of Applied Sciences in Finland. The Metropolia has four fields of study: technology, health care and social services, economics and business administration, and culture, all of which will...

  • Arcada University of Applied Sciences
    Arcada University of Applied Sciences
    Arcada University of Applied Sciences is a university of applied sciences in Helsinki, Finland.Arcada was established in 1996 as a merger of the Swedish Institute of Health Care Education , the Swedish Institute of Commercial Education , the Institute of Technology and the Folkhälsan Instutute...



Helsinki is one of the co-location centres of the Knowledge and Innovation Community (Future information and communication society ) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The educational department takes part in Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland
Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland
Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland has been implemented in several ways. The programmes are coordinated by an unit of the ministry of the education of Finland, Centre for International Mobility – CIMO. Finland has been a member of the European union beginning with 1st January, 1995...

.

Culture

The biggest historical museum in Helsinki is the National Museum of Finland
National Museum of Finland
The National Museum of Finland presents Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present day, through objects and cultural history. The Finnish National Romantic style building is located in central Helsinki and operates in collaboration with the National Board of Antiquities , an association...

, which displays a vast historical collection from prehistoric times to the 21st century. The museum building itself, a national romantic style neomedieval castle, is a tourist attraction. Other major historical museum is the Helsinki City Museum, which introduces visitors to Helsinki's 500 year history. The University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as The Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available...

 also has many significant museums, including the University Museum and the Natural History Museum.

The Finnish National Gallery consists of three museums: Ateneum Art Museum
Ateneum
The Ateneum is a major museum in Finland. It is located in the centre of Helsinki at the Rautatientori square opposite Helsinki Central Railway Station. It has the biggest collections of classical art in Finland. Previously the Ateneum building also housed the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and...

 for classical Finnish art, Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European art, and Kiasma Art Museum
Kiasma
Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki, Finland. Its name kiasma, Finnish for chiasma, alludes to the basic conceptual idea of its architect, Steven Holl. The museum exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery founded in 1990...

 for modern art. The old Ateneum, a neo-Renaissance palace from 19th century, is one of the city's major historical buildings. All three museum buildings are state-owned through Senate Properties
Senate Properties
Senate Properties is a Finnish unincorporated state-owned enterprise, which manages a major part of the real estate assets owned by the Republic of Finland.-History:...

.

Helsinki has three major theatres: The Finnish National Theatre
Finnish National Theatre
The Finnish National Theatre , founded in 1872 in the city of Pori, is located in central Helsinki on the northern side of the Helsinki Central Railway Station Square. It is the world's oldest theatre with performances in Finnish...

, the Helsinki City Theatre, and the Finland Swedish Svenska Teatern. The city's main musical venues are the Finnish National Opera
Finnish National Opera
The Finnish National Opera in Helsinki is the leading opera company in Finland. Its home base is the Opera House on Töölönlahti bay in Töölö which opened in 1993, and is state-owned through Senate Properties...

 and the Finlandia concert-hall
Finlandia Hall
Finlandia Hall is a concert hall with a congress wing in Helsinki, Finland, by Töölönlahti bay. The building was designed by Alvar Aalto. The work began in 1967 and was completed in 1971.-Design and building:...

. Bigger concerts and events are usually held at one of the city's two big ice hockey arenas: the Hartwall Areena
Hartwall Areena
Hartwall Areena is a large multifunctional indoor arena located in Helsinki, Finland...

 or the Helsinki Ice Hall. Helsinki has Finland's largest fairgrounds
Helsinki Fair Centre
The Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre is the biggest and most famous fair centre in Finland. It is located in the capital city of Helsinki....

.

Many widely renowned and acclaimed bands have originated in Helsinki, including Hanoi Rocks
Hanoi Rocks
Hanoi Rocks was a Finnish rock band formed in 1979, whose most successful period came in the early 1980s. The band broke up in 1985 after the death of their drummer, Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley...

, HIM, Stratovarius
Stratovarius
Stratovarius are a Finnish power metal band that formed in 1984. Since their formation they have released 13 studio albums and one live album. Along with Helloween, Blind Guardian, Rhapsody of Fire and Gamma Ray, Stratovarius are considered one of the leading groups of the power metal and symphonic...

, The 69 Eyes
The 69 Eyes
The 69 Eyes are a multi-platinum selling Finnish gothic rock band. They are currently signed to EMI Finland. The band's albums are now distributed worldwide. The End Records acts as the band's official North American distributor, as Nuclear Blast Records provides distribution in Mainland Europe,...

, Norther
Norther
Norther is a Finnish Melodic Death Metal band from Helsinki, Finland.-History:Norther was originally formed by Kristian Ranta, Jukka Koskinen, Tuomas Planman, Petri Lindroos and Toni Hallio in the year 1996 after various of early stage band formations. The band kicked into gear with its debut...

, Wintersun
Wintersun
Wintersun is an extreme metal band from Helsinki, Finland.Wintersun was originally created by guitarist Jari Mäenpää as a side project to folk metal band Ensiferum, for whom he was lead singer and guitarist. In 2003, Mäenpää began culling together songs that he'd been working on since 1995. These...

, Finntroll
Finntroll
Finntroll is a folk metal band from Helsinki, Finland. They combine elements of black metal and folk metal. Finntroll's lyrics are mostly in Swedish, the only exception being the song "Madon Laulu" on Visor Om Slutet...

, Ensiferum
Ensiferum
Ensiferum is a Finnish folk metal band from Helsinki. The members of the band label themselves as "heroic folk metal." Since their formation, Ensiferum has released four full-length albums, one EP, one compilation, three singles, and three demo albums and one unreleased album.-Musical...

, The Rasmus
The Rasmus
The Rasmus are a Finnish rock band that formed in 1995 in Helsinki while the band members were still in upper comprehensive school. The original band members were Lauri Ylönen , Eero Heinonen , Pauli Rantasalmi and Janne Heiskanen...

 and Apocalyptica
Apocalyptica
Apocalyptica is a band from Helsinki, Finland, formed in 1993. The band is composed of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso and drummer Mikko Sirén...

.

Art

  • The Helsinki Festival
    Helsinki Festival
    The Helsinki Festival is the largest multi-arts festival in Finland. It is also called Finland's biggest cultural event in terms of visitors...

     is an annual arts and culture festival, which takes place every August (including the Night of the Arts
    Night of the arts
    The Night of the Arts is an annual event held in several major cities in Finland, in late August. It is one of many White Night festivals held worldwide....

    ).
  • Vappu "Vappu" is an annual carnival for students and workers.


Helsinki Arena hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2007
Eurovision Song Contest 2007
The Eurovision Song Contest 2007 was the 52nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was won by first-time appearance as an independent country Serbia and was held at the Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland from 10 May to 12 May. The host broadcaster was YLE.Finland earned the right to host...

, the first ever Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union .Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition...

 arranged in Finland, following Lordi
Lordi
Lordi is a Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band, formed in 1996 by the band's lead singer, songwriter and costume-designer, Mr. Lordi. The band is known for wearing monster masks and using pyrotechnics during concerts...

's win in 2006
Eurovision Song Contest 2006
The Eurovision Song Contest 2006 was the 51st Eurovision Song Contest, held at the Olympic Indoor Hall in Athens, Greece on 18 May and 20 May 2006 . The hosting national broadcaster of the contest was Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi . The Finnish band Lordi won the contest with the song "Hard Rock...

.

At the Senate Square
Helsinki Senate Square
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland.-Construction:...

 in September / October 2010, the largest open-air art exhibition ever in Finland took place: About 1.4 million people saw the international exhibition of United Buddy Bears
United Buddy Bears
Buddy Bears are a series of painted, life-size fibreglass bear sculptures originally developed in Berlin, Germany. The first Buddy Bear was created by the German businesspeople Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in cooperation with the sculptor Roman Strobl in 2001....

.

Helsinki is the 2012 World Design Capital
World Design Capital
The World Design Capital is a city promotion project by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design to recognize and award accomplishments made by cities around the world in the field of design.-World Design Capitals by year:...

, in recognition of the use of design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic development in the city. In choosing Helsinki, the World Design Capital selection jury highlighted Helsinki's use of 'Embedded Design', which has tied design in the city to innovation, "creating global brands, such as Nokia
Nokia
Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation that is headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, a city neighbouring Finland's capital Helsinki...

, Kone
KONE
Kone Oyj , founded in 1910 and headquartered in Espoo, Finland, is an international engineering and service company employing some 32,500 personnel worldwide. The firm is the fourth largest manufacturer of elevators worldwide, a leading manufacturer of escalators, and also provides maintenance...

 and Marimekko
Marimekko
Marimekko is a Finnish company based in Helsinki that has made important contributions to fashion, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. They are particularly noted for brightly-colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women's garments and in home furnishings.- Foundation :Marimekko was...

, popular events, like the annual Helsinki Design Week, outstanding education and research institutions, such as the University of Art and Design Helsinki
University of Art and Design Helsinki
Aalto University School of Art and Design , known commonly as TaiK, is the largest art university in the Nordic countries, and was founded in 1871. Media Centre Lume – the National Research and Development Center of audiovisual media – is also located in the university...

, and exemplary architects and designers such as Eliel Saarinen
Eliel Saarinen
Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen was a Finnish architect who became famous for his art nouveau buildings in the early years of the 20th century....

 and Alvar Aalto
Alvar Aalto
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware...

".

National media

Helsinki is the centre of the Finnish media, most national newspapers as well as the broadcasters are located there.

Local media

There are two public service
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 local radio stations in Greater Helsinki
Greater Helsinki
Greater Helsinki and the smaller Helsinki Metropolitan Area or Capital Region refer to two regions of different size surrounding Helsinki, the capital of Finland...

, Finnish-language
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 Ylen aikainen (the regional edition of YLE Radio Suomi) and Swedish-language
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 YLE Radio Vega Huvudstadsregionen (the regional edition of YLE Radio Vega
YLE Radio Vega
Radio Vega is a Finnish radio channel broadcasting in the Swedish language with headquarters in Helsinki. It is a wide-ranging national public service broadcaster with both speech and voice based programming operated by Yleisradio...

). There are also privately-owned local radio stations.

YLE produces local TV news programme for the region of Uusimaa
Uusimaa
Uusimaa, or Nyland in Swedish, is a region in Finland. It borders the regions Finland Proper, Tavastia Proper, Päijänne Tavastia and Kymenlaakso...

, Uudenmaan uutiset.

Two daily newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat
Helsingin Sanomat
Helsingin Sanomat is the largest subscription newspaper in Finland and the Nordic countries, owned by Sanoma. Except after certain holidays, it is published daily. In 2008, its daily circulation was 412,421 on weekdays and 468,505 on Sundays...

and Hufvudstadsbladet
Hufvudstadsbladet
Hufvudstadsbladet is the highest-circulation Swedish-language newspaper in Finland. Its headquarters are located in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The name of the newspaper translates approximately into "The Capital City Newspaper", hufvudstad being 19th century Swedish for capital...

are published in Helsinki and function as the local as well as the national newspapers.

Sports

Helsinki has a long tradition of sports: the city gained much of its initial international recognition during the 1952 Summer Olympics
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

, and the city has since then been very open to arranging sporting events, for example the first World Championships in Athletics
IAAF World Championships in Athletics
The World Championships in Athletics is an event organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations . Originally, it was organised every four years, but this changed in 1991, and it has since been organised biennially.-History:...

 1983 and 2005, and European Championships in Athletics 1971, 1994 and 2012 etc. Helsinki hosts fairly successful local teams in both of the most popular team sports in Finland, football, ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 and synchronized skating
Synchronized skating
Synchronized skating or synchronised skating, a large and fast-growing discipline, consists of 8—20 athletes skating on ice at one time moving as one flowing unit at high speeds...

. Helsinki houses Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (HJK), Finland's largest and most successful football club. Helsinki's track and field club Helsingin Kisa-Veikot is also pretty dominant in Finland. Ice Hockey is a sport of passion for many Helsinki residents, who usually take a stance for either of the local clubs IFK Helsingfors
HIFK (ice hockey)
HIFK is an ice hockey team based in Helsinki, Finland. The team plays at Helsinki Ice Hall. It was founded in 1897...

 (HIFK) or Jokerit
Jokerit
Jokerit is an ice-hockey team from Helsinki, Finland, playing in the Finnish Elite League, SM-liiga. The team has won 6 league championships...

. HIFK, with 14 Finnish championships titles, also plays in the highest bandy
Bandy
Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a football field. Each team has 11 players,...

 division, so does Botnia -69. The Olympic stadium hosted the 1st ever Bandy World Championships
Bandy World Championships
The Bandy World Championships are a competition between bandy-playing nations. The tournament is administrated by the Federation of International Bandy....

 in 1957.

Roads

The backbone of Helsinki's motorway network consists of three semicircular
Semicircle
In mathematics , a semicircle is a two-dimensional geometric shape that forms half of a circle. Being half of a circle's 360°, the arc of a semicircle always measures 180° or a half turn...

 ring roads, Ring I, Ring II, and Ring III, which connect together expressways heading to other parts of Finland, and the western and eastern arteries of Länsiväylä
Länsiväylä
is a motorway in the Greater Helsinki area of Finland, mainly at the Helsinki conurbation. It is part of the Finnish national road 51. The road begins in Ruoholahti in western Helsinki and continues west through the island of Lauttasaari and then across the city border to Espoo. The Länsiväylä road...

and Itäväylä respectively. While variants of a Keskustatunneli tunnel under the city centre have been repeatedly proposed, as of 2011 the plan remains on the drawing board.

Helsinki has some 390 cars per 1000 inhabitants. This is less than in cities of similar density, for instance, Brussels' 483 per 1000 and Stockholm's 401, and Oslo's 413.

Rail transport and buses

Public transportation is generally a hotly debated subject in the local politics of Helsinki. In Helsinki metropolitan area, public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

ation is managed under Helsinki Region Transport, the metropolitan area transportation authority. The diverse public transport system
Public transport in Helsinki
Public transport in Helsinki consists of bus, tram, metro, train, and ferry services. The system is managed by Helsinki Region Transport ....

 consists of trams
Helsinki tram
The Helsinki tram network forms part of the Helsinki public transport system organised by Helsinki Regional Transport Authority and operated by Helsinki City Transport in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki. The trams are the main means of transport in the city centre. 56.6 million trips were made...

, commuter rail, the subway
Helsinki Metro
The Helsinki Metro , is the metro system in Helsinki, Finland. It is the World's most northern metro system, and currently the only one in Finland. The system was opened to the general public on 2 August 1982 after 27 years of planning...

, bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

 lines and two ferry
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 lines.

Today, Helsinki is the only city in Finland to have trams or subway trains. There used to be two other cities in Finland with trams: Turku
Turku
Turku is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland...

 and Viipuri (Vyborg, now in Russia), but both have since abandoned trams. The Helsinki Metro
Helsinki Metro
The Helsinki Metro , is the metro system in Helsinki, Finland. It is the World's most northern metro system, and currently the only one in Finland. The system was opened to the general public on 2 August 1982 after 27 years of planning...

, opened in the year 1982, is the only subway system in Finland. In 2006, the construction of the long debated extension
Länsimetro
The Western Metro Extension will be an extension of the Helsinki Metro system from central Helsinki, Finland, to the neighbouring city of Espoo. The new stretch of line will extend from the existing Ruoholahti metro station via the island of Lauttasaari, the Aalto University School of Science and...

 of the subway system west into Espoo
Espoo
Espoo is the second largest city and municipality in Finland. The population of the city of Espoo is . It is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. Espoo shares its eastern border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen....

 was approved, and serious debate about an eastern extension into Sipoo
Sipoo
Sipoo is a municipality of Finland. Its seat is in Nikkilä/Nickby.It is the eastern neighbour of Helsinki and is located in the Uusimaa region. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water...

 has taken place.

The possibility of a Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel
Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel
thumb|250px|A tunnel from Helsinki to Tallinn would connect to [[Rail Baltica]].The Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel is a proposed undersea tunnel that would span the Gulf of Finland and connect the Finnish and Estonian capitals....

 is currently being researched. The rail tunnel would connect Helsinki to the Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

n capital Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

, further linking Helsinki to the rest of continental Europe by Rail Baltica
Rail Baltica
thumb|300px|Map of Rail Baltica...

.

Aviation

Air traffic is handled primarily from the international Helsinki Airport
Helsinki Airport
Helsinki Airport or Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is the main international airport of the Helsinki metropolitan region and the whole of Finland. It is located in Vantaa, Finland, about west of Tikkurila, the centre of Vantaa, and north of Helsinki city centre...

, located approximately 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of Helsinki's downtown area, in the neighbouring city of Vantaa
Vantaa
Vantaa is a city and municipality in Finland. Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen make up the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.Vantaa, with its population of , is the fourth most populated city of Finland. The biggest airport in Finland, the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, is located there...

. Helsinki's second airport, Malmi Airport, is mainly used for general and private aviation. Copterline
Copterline
Copterline Limited was Finland's largest helicopter airline. In 2004 the company ferried over 75,000 passengers. On December 19, 2008, Copterline confirmed that it had ceased its scheduled service between Helsinki and Tallinn. On 15 February 2010, Copterline filed for bankruptcy, citing inability...

 has provided fast (18 min.) helicopter flights to Tallinn, but discontinued the regular service in December 2008 on grounds of unprofitability.

Sea transport

Ferry connections to Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

, Mariehamn
Mariehamn
Mariehamn is the capital of Åland, an autonomous territory under Finnish sovereignty. Mariehamn is the seat of the Government and Parliament of Åland, and 40% of the population of Åland live in the city...

 and Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 are serviced by various companies. Finnlines
Finnlines
Finnlines Plc is a Finnish shipping company that operates freight throughout Northern Europe as well as passenger services in the Baltic Sea. In the past, Finnlines has operated ships under the brands Finncarriers, Finnflow Systems, Finnjet Lines, and FG Shipping Oy Ab...

 passenger-freight ferries to Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

, Poland, Travemünde
Travemünde
Travemünde is a borough of Lübeck, Germany, located at the mouth of the river Trave in Lübeck Bay. It began life as a fortress built by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, in the 12th century to guard the mouth of the Trave, and the Danes subsequently strengthened it. It became a town in 1317 and in...

, Germany and Rostock
Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

, Germany are also available. St Peter Line
St Peter Line
St. Peter Line is a Russian shipping company, which operates services from Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm . The company was founded in 2010 with it starting operations in April of that year...

 offers passenger ferry service to Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 several times a week.

External links

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